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Paddle Your Own Canoe
Chapter 16

That easy chair was calling and Dee wasn't   resisting. Loved though the children  were one had to admit they kept things moving.  Now that they were gone home she dropped down, flipped the foot rest up and glanced to one side to see Sam heading toward his chair in the bedroom.

Her daughter was wheeling her chair around to the computer. She already had one of her favorite CD's on the machine. This was her break and escape after the children left.

The soft music, quiet house and easy chair lulled Dee into a quick nap. Her dream was so real it was as if she was again back on the streets of the little town of Tonkawa.  In her dream sleep she repeated a scene to have happened more than at least thirty years ago.

At the quiet country town she and her mother's car  pulled up to the one red light in town. Crossing the street in front of her was one of her beloved teachers she had while she was in college.

“Well, would you ever?  There is Mrs. Strange. I haven't seen her in years.”

The very stylish woman walked in front of the car, stepped up on the curb and was on her way down the wide side walk in front of the stores. There was no question as to it being her former teacher. Teaching home economics gave her the edge on style and class. She really just reeked with it. Her clothing was always tailored looking of very fine quality fabric. She was tall and thin and walked with a sure stride but still, as though she was really just out for a stroll.  The walk alone was proof to Dee it was for sure, Mrs. Strange.  Too, her hairstyle was another indication. She wore her hair always neat to the very maximum.

Dee drove the car up in front of the café where they were planning to have lunch. While she was unloading the wheelchair for her daughter she was looking down the street for the lady she truly wished to see, but nowhere could she see her.

“Oh well.  She probably is already inside.”  Everyone in Tonkawa ate at the same place and that was Mary's restaurant. It was always a pleasant experience since they usually saw people they didn't get to visit very often. Maybe just the owner was the only one but that was fun too, since they had gone to high school together for a time.

As Dee settled her mother and her daughter into a table, she was looking about the room.  Dee couldn't locate the woman amongst the crowded tables.  Determined now to find her she told them to give the waitress her order.  “I'm going to walk down the street.   Probably,  Mrs. Strange had a bit of shopping to do and has popped into one of the stores.”

Most of the stores were open and one could see right through them. The little ten-cent store was not as easy to see into so she went inside the store.

“I'm looking for an old friend?  Mrs. Strange.  Is she here?”  While she was asking Dee was looking around and felt a little silly  because the people were all starring at her with strange expressions.  They didn't open their mouth but just shook their head, “no.”

“Golly, I've seen wall eyed horses to have the same expression.”  She smiled to herself.

Giving up the search Dee returned to the restaurant. “You know I've just totally lost that woman.  Maybe she is in the bathroom.  I'll ask Ginger when she comes through.  And, that was only a moment or so when the sparkly owner of the café came to their table.”

“You know, Ginger. I saw Mrs. Strange a while ago and after having searched all over, can't seem to find her." I haven't seen her in such a long time. It would have been fun to go over old times with her. After all these years her appearance was just as striking. I always thought she was so attractive.  We had so many good times.  When I was going through the ten-cent store, I remembered all the times she used to send me on errands to pick up something or other for our class.  One time needles, another time a can opener, or another time a piece of felt.  She taught me so much while I was in her classes. Having majored in home economics that was where I spent most of my time.

“No Dee.  You did not see Mrs. Strange. Not today.”

“Oh?  And why not?  Has she moved away?  I'm sure she must have retired long ago.”

“Well you know, as a matter of fact. I went to her funeral this morning.”

The shock of Ginger's statement so startled the woman she couldn't speak.  She looked over toward her Native American mother and there was no expression on her face and she had her head turned to look off into the distance rather than make eye contact with her daughter. The Indians had an explanation for this sort of thing and it was tied up with the thought of saying good-bys.

When she woke from the dream it was so real she could still see the woman strolling so nonchalantly across and in front of her car, as if to make sure Dee saw her.

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